Classis Leadership Ministry Team

Dear Student,

On behalf of the Classis Leadership Ministry Team [CLMT], I’d like to welcome you to Classis Grand Rapids South! We are so excited to be able to walk with you and support your leadership development as you discern how God is calling you to serve in his Kingdom.

Certainly one aspect of how we would love to support you is with financial assistance, but more importantly, we would like to build a relationship with you and support your leadership development. John C. Maxwell once reflected, “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” We cannot be influenced, nor can we influence others, without authentic relationship. No doubt you have heard the expression, “it is not what you know, but who you know.” Also consider this quote, which takes it one step further: “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.”

You have entered into an exciting time in your life when you are working on getting a degree, building an excellent resume, and developing relationships and connections that will serve as your references.  It is impossible to pursue a career in ministry without references! The relationships that you create right now are crucial to creating opportunities in ministry upon graduation. While your connections with the students and professors at seminary are important, your connections with pastors and leaders outside of seminary, who are currently active in ministry, are imperative.

So we encourage you to get started meeting people now. There are no short-cuts to building authentic relationships with people in your field, because relationships take time. That is why when we think of “leadership development”, we think in terms of introducing you to pastors and ministry leaders in our Classis. One of the requirements for our grant recipients is to attend Classis Grand Rapids South meetings (October and March) and Classis Leadership Ministry Team [CLMT] meetings (2x/yr.). These are required because they are about creating relationships with people who can be your supporters and references as you pursue vocational ministry.

We look forward to building relationships with you and exploring how we can learn and grow together as kingdom builders in Christ. May God bless you and keep you.

Rev. Emily Vanden Heuvel
Chairperson of Classis Leadership Ministry Team [CLMT] Classis Grand Rapids South

Emily Vanden Heuvel


Deadline to apply or reapply is Jan 15th.

As you prepare the following application, please be aware that our total annual grant budget is limited. We ask that you pray about your application and discern how we can help you, while also considering how your need compares to others who are applying.

Essay portion of the application: We recommend that you write out the following essays before you start the application and then copy and paste into appropriate fields:

1. Share your Christian testimony and why you are seeking to enter ministry leadership.

2. Share how a relationship you built with another person (preferably not an immediate family member) opened a door of opportunity for you, in any aspect of your life – vocational, academic, experiential, etc.

3. How are you currently working to build authentic relationships with people who may serve as references or points of contact in your future career in ministry?

Also be sure to send to your Church Council Chair the following link:

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Our Yearly Schedule

October 1

Announcement about applications due at Classis. Letters/emails sent out to churches in Classis Grand Rapid South. Current students are contacted inviting them to reapply.

December 15

Email to current students and prospective students about application deadline.

January 15

Applications Due.

February 1

Students contacted for interviews. Committee meets to determine aid distribution. Email sent to Classis Interim Committee on aid distribution.


CLMT  makes proposal at classis leadership gathering. Students are invited to Classis for introductions and prayer. Students are informed of award totals.


Check in with students.

October 15

Students invited to classis leadership gathering to offer updates and receive prayer.


Past and Present Participants


The CLMT consists of Emily Vanden Heuvel (chair), JB Wernlund, Dan Zeigler, Martin Benckhuysen, Stated Clerk, and Treasurer.

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